My new “toy” came in and I was super-stoked. I’ve never owned, let alone, driven a riding mower so I was a bit “nervous” before firing this sucker up. I just didn’t want to break/run over anything! I gave it a spin and mowed the lawn with this baby and I have to say that, although I instantly fell in love, I need to get more accustomed to this thing as my first go at mowing the lawn was just OK. I need to get it to “excellent” and leave my lawn looking top-notch!
My wife was bummed because, for some reason, she wanted to be witness to this momentous “event”. Likely, she wanted to take some pictures and videos of me riding the mower for a good laugh as she watched my body hop up, down and wiggle while trying to tame the beast like a cowboy riding a wild steer. To her I say, too bad! Although I’m sure the sight would be one to giggle. But, she will get to see me some time before the end of the summer, that’s for sure. In due time… in due time! Until then, she’s just going to have to wait until the grass grows again.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve been able to lay back, kick my feet up and relax with a good book/e-reader on my lap. I’ve had the urge to dive back into reading lately but every time I get an iota of time that (sometimes ugly) thing rears its head up and rips the book from the grips of my hands – that “ugly” thing being, LIFE! Sure, maybe if I had a firmer grip on things (the book), I might be able to get through more than just a chapter or two. I believe, at the time of this writing, I have 2 or three books unfinished and still pending to be completed: Jazz 101 by John Szwad, The Haunting of Ashburn House by Darcy Oates and Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill). Not that I didn’t have any interest in any of these books. On the contrary, I just didn’t have the time to finish them. (more…)
I know, I know! You’re thinking, “Where have you been?” Chances are, you’ re probably not thinking this (nor do you care) but, as you may have already guessed, I’m going to tell you anyway but, fear not, it will be the Cliff Notes version. That beautiful thing called life reared its ugly head again, full force and the past couple of months has been somewhat of of a rollercoaster. It all started with a death…
He was a childhood friend of mine and his name was (is) Manny. He was, at the time, the 90’s, my big bro’s best friend. We met and we all formed a memorable childhood together. I will not bore you with the details but losing him had a profound effect on me. Memories of the times spent with him flooded both my mind and emotions and it took me away from a lot, one of which was this website.
I was also being torn apart by this very, very bad job that I thought (hoped) was a move for the better but it turned out to be soul-crushing and borderline depressing. I toughed it out for as long as I could but eventually, I lost that battle. There was, however, a silver-lining to all of this. I found a new job, much closer to home and in a much friendlier work environment. I could not have asked for anything better as I am in a much better place! So, here I am, back and eager to “blog” it up, get back to my vinyl and get back to taking more pics so, STAY TUNED!
(or that time I traveled through time)
Ever since my dad took me to see the glorious 1985 hit, Back to the Future on the big screen, my fascination with the concept of time travel has been captivated. Being a five-year old kid at the time, the concept of going backwards in time made little, to no sense whatsoever to my fragile and naive little mind. In reality, I was simply enamored by the DMC DeLorean and its wonderful display of flashing lights when that sucker hit 88 miles per hour! Still, I remember getting the basic gist of what was happening: young kid gets in trouble, accidentally travels through time, meets his parents, things go bad, kid has to fix something and somehow get back to the future! That was more than enough to get me to fall in love with this gem of a film. To this day, I swear to the heavens, the hells and to its heathens that I will one day own a DeLorean… oh yes, I will own a DeLorean! And, to this day, I don’t think I’m even close to owning one. Still, that never stops me from aspiring to own one.
Thirty years have passed since that fateful day my dad took me to see the film and, since then, I probably have seen it more times than I can count on my two hands (and feet). It has lead me down that proverbial rabbit hole that has geared me towards the viewing of many other time travel films, such as: Time Bandits, The Terminator, Time Rider, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, The Philadelphia Experiment, Flight of the Navigator to the more recent; The Time Machine, Primer, Timecrimes, The Time Traveler’s Wife (yep, that one too), Frequency, Hot Tub Time Machine (I know), Oblivion: Edge of Tomorrow, Safety Not Guaranteed, Project Almanac, Predestination, Looper and a slew of others! Having divulged myself in these films, there was a pestering question that always came to mind – and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s asked themselves this question: What if? (more…)
Say it ain’t so?! I am deeply saddened by the news of Carrie “Princess Leia” Fisher’s passing earlier today. The character is an icon in cinema history as well as a role model for young girls and women everywhere. Heck, my four year-old daughter looked up to her. A role model in that her character in Star Wars portrayed a no frills, ass-kicking, take names later – the picture of strength and compassion. Overcoming what seemed like a life plagued with trouble, she triumphed and share her story to inspire others. I never met you but you will always hold a place in my heart. Rest In Peace my dear Princess Leia.
Earlier this year, Rayen asked for a stage for Christmas. My eyes widened; I broke out in a cold sweat, chills spread throughout my body like an unprecedented electric current and hives formed on my flesh. A stage? A stage?! My life flashed before my eyes! Of course, I kid. What really came to mind was, challenge accepted!
Ever since the birth of our daughter, Rayen, time alone with the wife has been rather, how should I put this, scarce. I think I’m safe when I say that any parent can empathize with me on that one. In order to allow ourselves that much needed alone time, we have adopted a “rule” – have one family trip and one mommy/daddy trip a year. Pre-child era, we traveled some. It’s nothing to brag about but we simply liked to get away from time to time having gone to places such as Florida, California, Quebec, Ontario, Montreal, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Paris, Barcelona, Rome – to name a few. The plan was to take an all-inclusive trip to the U.K. which would have brought us to Ireland, Scotland, and England. We searched and searched for great deals and we finally found a great package. The plan was set for later that year. Then, we got pregnant!
It was a lazy day for us; we cleaned up around the house a bit, listened to music, danced, played in the backyard with our daughter and watched a movie. After the movie, we went upstairs, climbed into bed and started to watch The Exorcist TV series by way of Hulu. Our daughter was in bed with us, watching an episode of whatever it is she watches on my iPad. Why was she even awake, you ask? I ask myself that very same question all the time. I had already watched six episodes of the TV series but, of course, my wife wanted to start watching, so, back to episode one we went. I tried to hang on to consciousness and watch along with her but I found myself dozing off. At around 1:19 AM, I heard a noise in the near distance. I woke up with a jolt! I looked to my wife and my daughter and neither of their faces showed any semblance of worry nor concern. I grabbed the remote control and hit the mute button where both my wife and I heard that noise that no one ever wants to wake up to, the sound of our home alarm going off!
So I was bored one evening and thought I’d put this little video tribute to one of my favorite horror films, The Evil Dead! It’s Halloween so I figured, what the hey! Hope you enjoy:
“Black cats and goblins and broomsticks and ghosts
Covens of witches with all of their hosts
You may think they scare me
You’re probably right
Black cats and goblins on Halloween night. Trick or Treat!”
I’ve always wanted a home theater. To have the cinematic experience right at home is a blessing: leather reclining theater seats, a wall projecting a film on a massive scale and surround sound to make your ears bleed, yes, this is what I want! And, finally, after years of dreaming up my idea of having a home entertainment room to dazzle friends and family, I have come to the forlorn conclusion that I will not have such a room. Well, not any time soon at least. But, I can still make a budget friendly (extremely friendly) home theater to entertain both family and friends as well as, more importantly, for my own enjoyment.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am one of the biggest skeptics out there, often fighting back the urge to roll my eyes when someone wants to tell me a “true” experience with the paranormal. To this, I usually scoff. Despite my skepticism and a recent freaky experience (click here to read that), I used to be a believer in all things paranormal and never batted an eye when someone related their story/experience to me. But, after years of nothing “happening”, lack of evidence (even while on “bonafide” ghost hunts) and just a growing interest in science and logic, ghosts and spirits became more of a thing of fairy-tales to me, mere campfire stories. True, I would like (love) to believe in the existence of ghosts but I find myself fighting that urge. It is something hard to do being that I am virtually surrounded by believers, each making their case only to be met by a counter-argument. My argument is usually simple and to the point, “Show me the evidence.” A weak argument? Yes, but effective.
I dug up this old interview I conducted a few years ago for a horror website I ran with film director and writer Drew Daywalt. Since then, Mr. Daywalt has become a successful children’s book writer and authored The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home.
Do you like to be scared?
If you answered yes, then there is, without a doubt, a need and/or must to check out Drew Daywalt and his horror micro-terrors. Helming from the shadows and depths that is Fewdio, Drew has stepped out into the light and has developed his own repertoire in The Daywalt Fear Factory that has been worthy for what, I would say, is suffice to call a cult following. (more…)
It’s been quite some time since I’ve had a nightmare. Some of my more vivid night terrors occurred shortly after I was diagnosed with MS. It could have been the fear of this newly discovered disease in my body, or, it could have been the meds I was on. Whatever it was, it induced some of the more disturbing dreams I’ve ever had! I would wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat and in a panic. They were so real that deciphering the difference between dreaming and reality was difficult until I awoke on my bed and my senses adjusted to my surroundings. That was a little over six years ago and I have not been as disturbed in my sleep since then… until last night. (more…)
Hudson Valley Blog: I’m the Rocket Man!
Space: the final frontier! Ah yes, the voyages of the Starship Enterprise of the famed Star Trek series—you know, to boldly go where no man has gone before and all that jazz. I’ll just say right off the bat and maybe garner (some may say warrant) mean-spirited sentiments that although Star Trek is an excellent and expanded series, I am more of a Star Wars guy. Even though the new Don of the Star Wars franchise ruffled a lot of feathers with his vision of the Star Trek galaxy I dare I say that I really like his take on it. To be fair, it could be because I know next to nothing of what the Star Trek universe consists of, so please, be gentle.
So, today was Record Store Day 2016. The sun was out and the skies were blue; a perfect day to be outside with the family and look for some vinyl. Of course, I had my list of vinyl wants ready to go but, as is Record Store Day mania, nothing is ever guaranteed. Being that this is my first Record Store Day venture, I really didn’t know what to expect but I have heard/read stories. Lines going around the block, mayhem in the stores, people fighting for that exclusive, limited record, stampedes! OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating a bit except for the lines bit, that part is true. Still, there were more important things to tend to than getting some records. My vinyl haul? Well, more on that later.
For my Hudson Valley vinyl finds for this week, I bring you a few new LPs into my modest, and still growing, collection.
First up is one I have been after for quite some time and, finally, I am glad to say that I am the proud owner of Tales of the Frightened: Volume 1 as told by Boris Karloff. I’ve accumulated a vast assortment of horror/Halloween vinyl LPs for the purposes of one day sitting down with my daughter in the dark on a cool, Halloween night and giving these a spin with the hopes of giving her a good, and safe, scare! I want her to experience a few things I myself once experienced as a kid. Now, on to find a decently priced Volume 2!
Lou Reed said it best:
Oh, it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spent it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on
When I opened the blinds this morning, gray light poured into my bedroom with no tinge of a golden orange. In other words, it was a cloudy day. Regardless, temperatures were slated to reach about 50º F which was well within the range of taking my little girl out for the day. The question poised was, what do I do with her? I scoured the web for ‘things to do in the Hudson Valley with kids.’ There are a few things; there’s Chuck E. Cheese, The Mid Hudson Children’s Museum and Poughkidsie, all of which are located in Dutchess County, NY in the Hudson Valley. Although I’m on the other side of the river in Orange County, NY my plan was two-fold: First, take my daughter out, show her a good time and, second, try to hit up a vinyl record shop along the way for a “few minutes” and see what I can ‘dig’ up. Chuck E. Cheese was out – we’ve been there more times than I can count (3 times?) and end up spending way too much money there. We’ve gone to the Mid Children’s Museum before so I kind of wanted to take her somewhere new. Poughkidsie was it, then!